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7 Ways to Pick a Great Neighborhood

Michelle McQuade | November 21, 2016

When you first start looking for homes in a new city, it can be overwhelming to try to choose a neighborhood. There are tons of factors to consider: property values, what school zone your home is in, commute time to and from work, desired level of community involvement, and more. It is just as important to like your neighborhood as it is to like your house.

Read on to learn a few tips and tricks on how to choose the best neighborhood for you and your family.

    Neighborhood Search

  1. 1) Consider the things you “must have” in a neighborhood versus the things that “would be nice to have, but are not completely necessary.” You might not be able to find a neighborhood that checks all your boxes, so it is important to make sure you choose a location that checks all of the most important boxes.
  2. 2) Alternatively, what are some of the things you absolutely cannot live with in your neighborhood? If you do not like a lot of traffic driving past your house, consider a neighborhood that doesn’t include any main roads. If you have trouble sleeping in a noisy environment, it might be best to avoid neighborhoods near interstates, airports, train tracks or college campuses. If you hate being too far away from the action, consider a neighborhood near a district with a lot of shopping and restaurant options.
  3. 3) Where is the neighborhood in relation to your office? Think about how long you are realistically willing to commute each day. Is there public transportation available? Would you like public transportation to be available? And if you are planning to drive, what will that drive look like during peak traffic times? Finding a neighborhood where you will be travelling in the opposite direction of the majority of the commuters could significantly lessen your daily stress levels.
  4. 4) Consider whether or not you need to cater to children. For example, a good school district might be a priority if you have young children, but if you are single, living in the best school district might just mean you are unnecessarily buying into the most expensive neighborhoods. The same thing goes for living near parks with playgrounds or community recreation centers.
  5. 5) Check into the area’s crime rates. Particularly if you are planning to walk around a lot, an area with a low crime rate could give you considerable peace of mind.
  6. 6) This might seem obvious, but make sure you visit your prospective neighborhood at different times and days. Some neighborhoods might be quiet during the week but filled with house parties on the weekends.
  7. 7) When you go to see the neighborhood, make sure you also scout out local spots that you think you might frequent. If you like to go to the gym a lot, make sure there is one close to your prospective home. Or if you like to stop at Starbucks for your morning coffee, make sure there is one on the way to work. Little things like that might slip your mind, but they will make your daily routine much easier.

While there are great neighborhoods in every city, there are some that stand out above the others. Check out our communities page to learn more about the neighborhood in this area.

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